No time to waste, let's jump into the questions for this week's mailbag right away.
WHAT ARE IOWA'S CHANCES WITH MATT FARNIOK AND IS HE A GUY THAT COULD PLAY AS A TRUE FRESHMAN?
You always have a chance when you're getting a late official visit like the Hawkeyes are this weekend. It's quite the challenge because Farniok is so familiar and comfortable with Nebraka. He's visited them numerous times. This official visit to Iowa City is basically 'catch-up' time for Kirk and Brian Ferentz. They do have a great relationship with the Farniok clan and have their blessing which does go a long way. The safe pick is Nebraska because of the comfort and relationships but there has to be a reason he hasn't made his decision yet.
Offensive lineman don't play early. It's extremely rare. James Daniels is the exception, and not the rule. And he was given a headstart since he enrolled early. He's been on campus for more than a year already now. Farniok won't have that luxury so I don't believe he'd be a candidate to play right away.
WHO DO YOU FEEL IS THE MOST UNDERRATED FOOTBALL COMMIT AND WHY?
Tight end commit Noah Fant of Omaha. He's a natural athlete with elite athleticism. He's another one of those guys that is a fantastic basketball player as well. Fant drew high praise when he went to the Nike Regional in Beaverton, Oregon from our West recruiting analyst Greg Biggins who is one of the best in the business. That's big to me.
DO YOU HAVE A 'DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH' PLAYER IN THIS CLASS?
I think a diamond will be quarterback commit Nate Stanley but he was pursued by Michigan State and Minnesota, and still by Wisconsin so he's not exactly 'in the rough'. I think plenty of schools will wish they jumped in on Shaun Beyer or Amani Hooker.
WHO IS THE MOST LIKELY 'CAN'T MISS' COMMIT IN THIS CLASS AND WHY?
Nate Stanley would be a good selection for this but I'll go Cedrick Lattimore just based purely off position. I think he has a great career and it's safer to roll with a versatile defensive lineman than a quarterback for this kind of question.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE COMMIT AND WHY?
I'm not a fan so I don't exactly have favorites. But I look forward to what Nate Stanley can do based on what I heard and the limited tape I've seen.
WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO SWITCH TO A POSITION ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BALL THAN WHAT THEY WERE RECRUITED FOR?
Barrington Wade is most assuredly going to be a linebacker, not running back. Emmanuel Rugamba can project at wideout or cornerback. Kristian Welch could end up at fullback.
TAKE A SHOT AT PROJECTING BOTH THE O-LINE AND D-LINE 2-3 YEARS FROM NOW.
Two seasons from now Iowa will still be entering with Boone Myers, Ike Boettger, and Sean Welsh as seniors and James Daniels as a junior. I'll roll with those four. The other interior lineman could be Landan Paulsen.
Defensive line two seasons from now will still have Parker Hesse, Matt Nelson, and Nathan Bazata. Hesse was a freshman and the other two were sophomores. Those three and Cedrick Lattimore make sense.
GIVE US YOUR THOUGHTS ON NATE STANLEY. WHAT'S HE GREAT, GOOD, AVERAGE, AND BAD AT WHEN IT COMES TO PLAYING QB? MOST IMPORTANTLY, WILL HE CURE THIS PESSIMISTIC BUG I HAVE ON IOWA QB COMMITS?
He has fantastic arm strength and can move around in the pocket. He's someone that thinks the game well also and has a high football IQ. Stanley will just need to learn the offense, adapt to the speed of the game, and get used to the heightened level of competitiion and learn the offense. C.J. Beathard's play this year should alleviate your pessimistic bug.
WITH ADAM WOODBURY GRADUATING, IT SEEMS THERE WILL BE A TREMENDOUS NEED FOR ANOTHER TRUE CENTER. I FEEL LIKE THE TEAM HAS A FAIR AMOUNT OF DEPTH IN THE POWER FORWARD POSITION, WHICH IS GREAT. DO YOU SEE ANY POTENTIAL RECRUITS ON THE HORIZON THAT WOULD FIT THE MOLD OF A TRUE CENTER?
In the 2017 class, there's Malik Williams of Fort Wayne and Theo John of Minnesota.
IS SOME OF ALL THE EMPHASIS ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE IN RECRUITING THIS YEAR BECAUSE SOME OF OUR PLAYERS AREN'T DEVELOPING, INJURED, OR JUST AREN'T WHAT WE THOUGHT?
The emphasis is because they only have two offensive linemen committed in the 2016 class right now and both are interior players. Need a tackle and they really, really value Alaric Jackson and Matt Farniok.
DO YOU THINK SOME OF NOAH FANT'S RECENT ISSUE IS COMING FROM THE COMMITMENT OF A.J. EPENESA?
No. Different positions. They're recruiting Noah Fant to be a tight end.
HOW MUCH WOULD COLLEGE SPORTS CHANGE IF SOME CANDIDATES WERE ACTUALLY ABLE TO IMPLEMENT A FREE COLLEGE EDUCATION SYSTEM THAT THEY'RE DISCUSSING NOW?
This is a loaded question. I don't want to get into politics here but that is a tough system to put into action. It works in other places because less people go to college but it would surely impact college sports with no real scholarships being handed out and would likely hurt the parity.
THOUGHTS ON WHETHER OR NOT ANYBODY IN THE BASKETBALL PROGRAM TRANSFERS OUT AT THE END OF THE YEAR?
I'm going to skate around this one, too. It wouldn't be fair to Iowa or the players to dive into this one much. But transfers happen so you shouldn't be surprised if they occur.
WHAT DO YOU THINK DALE JONES' IMPACT WILL BE NEXT YEAR, IF HE EVEN WILL STILL BE ON THE TEAM?
It should be about the same as what his impact was early on this year. He's a spot up shooter from the outside and has length to be a solid rebounder. I see him contributing for sure.
WHICH YOUNG GUY DO YOU THINK STEPS UP MOST DOWN THE STRETCH: WILLIAMS, WAGNER, ELLINGSON, BAER, OR FLEMING?
Baer and Wagner already are. That won't change. Christian Williams could have a tough time getting mintues because the deeper the season goes, the more important the games are and you want Gesell and Clemmons on the floor as much as possible. Same with Fleming. Ellingson could emerge because you always need shooters, he's been around for a year, and is still getting comfortable with his role. To answer the question, I'll side with Wagner. His toughness and physicality can be a real asset.
LASTLY, THE LAST FEW YEARS, WE'VE LOST GUYS TO THE DRAFT AND HAVE EXPECTED TO SEE A REGRESSION THE FOLLOWING BASKETBALL SEASON, BUT HAVE CONSISTENTLY GOTTEN BETTER. WILL NEXT YEAR BE MORE OF THE SAME, OR WILL NEXT YEAR BE A STEP BACK WHILE YOUNGER GUYS DEVELOP?
There hasn't been much of a regression in past few years because Gesell and Woodbury were playing early and knew the system and could duplicate what others ahead of them had done. I think a regression happens next year. You don't lose four starters without skipping a beat unless you're Kentucky and bring in five NBA players every year.
MIGHT BE TABOO, BUT KIRK FERENTZ'S CONTRACT EXPIRES IN FOUR YEARS. HAS THERE BEEN DISCUSSION ON ADDING A YEAR TO THE END FOR RECRUITING PURPOSES?
It would be a shock if it hasn't been discussed but I don't know anything for a fact.
DO YOU THINK PETER JOK HAS WHAT IT TAKES TO FILL THE ROLE THAT JARROD UTHOFF HAS PLAYED FOR US THIS YEAR?
He can fill his scoring output but not on his own. Another scorer has to step up to take some pressure off. Uthoff can get his shot off anywhere at any time because of his length and size. He also can because teams have to be aware of Jok. Without Uthoff, teams can zero in on Jok without another prolific scorer alongside him. Jok also can't create his own shot at any time like Uthoff. He's an excellent shooter and a very good finisher at the rim but isn't a creator.